Marriott’s Convention and Resort Network upped its portfolio to 106 hotels with the addition of 39 Starwood properties.
Following the Marriott and Starwood merger, the new combined company is working to up its brand portfolio—with the most recent addition to Marriott’s Convention and Resort Network (CRN) earlier this year. Between January and June, 39 Starwood properties were added to the portfolio, bringing the total up to 106 properties in Canada, North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
“Yes, we have added a lot of new hotels this year, but we absolutely do not have a grow-at-any-cost approach,” Todd Sherstad, Marriott’s CRN director told Meetings and Conventions. “In fact, we are very particular about what hotels we invite. They have to meet certain physical as well as sales criteria and be a good fit for the other hotels in the network.”
The CRN is invite-only, and the new properties were 19 Sheraton hotels and 17 Westin hotels.
This year was also the CRN’s first foray into Canadian hotels, inviting two hotelss in Toronto, one in Montreal, and one in Vancouver.
“Prior to the Olympics, Vancouver was not on a lot of peoples’ lips,” Sean Antonson, the regional director of sales and marketing at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, told Meetings and Conventions. “My understanding is that Marriott takes the CRN network very seriously, and we are learning as we go. We are looking to grow our inbound U.S. group segment, so it is definitely an important step for us.”
None of the newly invited properties to the CRN are from Delta Hotels and Resorts, which Marriott acquired in 2015 – and there are no plans in the works to include any of those properties, either, Sherstad said.
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Expedia Group Lends a Hand With $275 Million Program
Expedia Group has announced its commitment of $275 million USD to help partners rebound from the impact of COVID-19 and fuel industry-wide recovery efforts.
Expedia Group’s recovery program is comprised of global initiatives to support industry recovery and property-level relief designed to help independent partners and small chains rebuild their business, attract high-value guests, and optimize cash flow.
Below are some of the program highlights.
To Restore Partners:
– Expedia Group is committing $250 million in marketing credits and financial relief. For each property that participates in the program, the company will reinvest 25% of the compensation earned in 2019 from the property into marketing credits for use with Expedia Group.
– To better understand when demand will return to a market, Expedia Group is providing proprietary data to track trends through a new analytics tool called Market Insights. The dynamic dashboard provides trends on website traffic, stay dates, and demand source markets.
– To support chains and owner groups, Expedia Group released a streamlined version of its optimized distribution solution that allows lodging suppliers to more effectively manage the distribution of wholesale rates among third party travel providers.
To Restore Destinations:
– To re-ignite demand through market awareness, Expedia Group Media Solutions is opening a $25 million fund for destinations. This recovery plan focuses on destination-led and co-op campaigns, which bring together destination and supply partners with similar audiences to manage their advertising spend while maximizing their conversions.
– To keep travel top of mind, Expedia Group is rolling out a series of global brand campaigns. For example, an online campaign from Media Solutions called Where Next? helps customers discover new destinations.
To Restore the Industry:
– To help furloughed and displaced workers advance during this time, Expedia Group has created a complimentary training and education program called Expedia Group Academy. The program offers skill development through online learning modules and live content led by Expedia Group subject matter experts and travel industry leaders.
– To ensure customers can book with confidence, Expedia Group created a new feature for lodging partners to highlight the health and hygiene measures at their properties.
– To meet the needs of cautious customers and ensure booking flexibility, nearly 70% of lodging rate plans on Expedia Group sites are now refundable.
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